Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Coast in Progress

Coast in Progress
Watercolour on Arches
57cm x 38cm

This painting needs more work but I enjoy the energy that comes with under-painting a scene and the marks that result. I have used a lot of phthalo blue in this underworking, phthalo is the most over-powering watercolour colour I have come across. It can dominant the work and is hard to control, but it is so beautiful and intense.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

From Simeon Street

 From Simeon Street
Watercolour, Ink, Chinese Paint on Bockingford 
33cm x 26cm

From Simeon Street Ink
Ink on Watercolour Paper
24cm x 24cm

I recently discovered a new view of Clovelly from a high point near Simeon Street. It gives a wonderful outlook onto the landscapes and the graveyard and ocean in the distance. These are quick sketches from that point.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Blank Spaces

Fern Street Road
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
58cm x 42cm

It is often hard to know when a painting is finished. In watercolour it is really important to be aware of over-working as this can dull a piece irretrievably. Oil and acyclic perhaps more forgiving as paint can be scraped back or painted on fresh. In watercolour I enjoy that each brush stroke is intrinsic to the final painting. Obviously, as a result I am attempting to make each stroke deliberate and beautiful, and also diverse. In these recent pieces I am deliberately exaggerating the under-working to leave some of the rice paper or watercolour paper completely exposed.

Fern Street
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
50cm x 42cm

Bronte Fence
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
33cm x 27cm

Monday, 8 November 2010

Marine life in Gordons Bay

Swimming in Gordons Bay
Watercolour, Chinese Paint, Craft Glue, Sand and Barnacles
76cm x 57cm

In this piece I want to capture the landscape with different elements on the same page. The painting is  a landscape layered with features that define it. This is partially influenced by an Australian artist called John Wolseley. I visited his exhibition recently in the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney. Wolseley is inspired by the natural world and immerses himself in it to create wonderful layered beautiful documentations. I was inspired to approach Gordons Bay like this as this area is synonymous with its marine life. In painting this landscape I felt that the diving trail and marine life is intrinsic to the perception of the place. I wanted this to be central to the piece so i painted fish found in the bay along with the map lines of the scuba diving trail.  The painting also has sand and barnacles collected from the beach.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Heads

The Heads 
Watercolour and Chinese Paint on Arches
28cm x 40cm

The Harbour from Watsons Bay
Watercolour on Arches Paper
28cm x 40cm

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Silicon Artists

http://newlinearperspectives.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/2885.jpg
The Silicon Artists, Tangerine’s Dream, 2010, oil, silicone and polyurethane on board, 120 x 180cm
My recent article for New Linear Perspectives quizzes the successful Australian artist duo The Silicon Artists represented by Rex Livingston Gallery, Sydney. Their work is shown above. The duo comprises of wife and husband, Catherine Conceicao and Josh Bullen. http://newlinearperspectives.wordpress.com/art/silicon-artists/

Saturday, 23 October 2010

October Coogee

October Coogee
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches Paper
57cm x 34cm

Today I visit Gallery East in Clovelly where my solo show will be in April 2011. The exhibition was another local artist called Nick Hollo.  Like my recent work, he is also inspired by the Sydney landscape as his subject-matter. He uses oil pastels on board to create wonderful bold interpretations of the landscape.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Clovelly rock walk sketches

 Clovelly Sand
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
 20cm x 19cm

Clovelly rocks
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
26cm x 20cm

The distinct linear clouds combined with the pattern of rock or sand offers an inspiring reference point. In these small pieces I am using this real-life reference to abstract and suggest. Increasingly, my desire is to abstractly conceive reality in a way that does not purely abstract but rather captures the monumentality of the landscape. I want every brushstroke to express and to have purpose.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Coogee Distilled

Coogee Distilled
Watercolour on Arches Paper
47cm x 33cm

Coogee is a suburb with a distinct visual language. The low-lying red roofs, the use of red brick, the exposed electricity wires, the mature foliage between the buildings. I want to reduce the representation to give a sense of this rhythm so that the painting could be representative of anywhere in the area rather than just a particular view. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

South Coogee Horizon

South Coogee Horizon
Watercolour on Arches
58cm x 39cm

Friday, 24 September 2010

The in-between spaces

The in-between space
Watercolour on Arches Paper
57cm x 37cm

This is a painting from a space in-between I found when I was walking from A to B. I love walking. I often walk rather than take the car or bus. It takes me longer but I enjoy it. I enjoy feeling how spaces connect. So often we rely on transport to take us from A to B without enjoying those spaces in-between. I am a fan of the author Will Self who has written a book called Psychogeography. Basically, he argues that transport, particularly the car, has removed us from understand our landscape. He proposes that people understand the world as a series of disconnected microcosms without any understand how they relate. To better understand the landscape people should walk more.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Eastgardens Watercolour

Eastgardens Watercolour
Watercolour on Arches Paper
57cm x 38cm

This is the view looking south from the Westfield Eastgardens carpark. The view looks down Denison Street and eventually to Port Botany on the horizon. The distinctive red roofs illustrate the residential area of this landscape.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Auctioning the Landscape

Auctioning the Landscape
Acyric, Ink, Collage, Chinese Paints on Card
64cm x 51cm

This piece is an experiment using collage and even looser treatment of the landscape. The collage comes from the Southern Courier a local paper that has a large section with local real estate advertisments. The idea was to reference the fundamental aspect of economic value in the construction of the landscape. I really enjoy the work of Mark Bradford who uses collage in a unique way to create abstract map-like, layered pieces. Bradford finds all the materials used from the street in the form of posters or flyers then reappropriates them as an artwork.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Abstracting rock patterns

Clovelly and the Vans
Chinese Paint and Ink on Rice Paper
42cm x 40cm

Clovelly Monochrome Ink Sketch
Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
58cm x 42cm

In these ink sketches I am reducing the landscape to pattern from the water and rock. The sandstone rock provides endless reference for abstraction.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

La Perouse Ink Path

La Perouse Ink Path
Chinese Ink and Paint on Rice Paper
42cm x 65cm

This pathway runs parallel to the coast of Botany Bay and is set within the urban suburb of La Perouse. Yet , at times the density of the forest removes all of these geographical associations for a moment so that the pathway could be anywhere in the bush. I enjoy these spaces in the city where I can feel emersed in 'nature'.

This piece on rice paper, a wonderful translucent surface, and as I am learning a less robust one. In the centre of the painting you may notice a hole where you can see my ink covered drawing board.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Claudia Massie - Geo Prints

In any landscape painting the artist selects what to put in the frame and  what to represent. The artist is attempting to depict an interpretation of the landscape to give a sense of its character. Claudia Massie is a Scottish artist who focuses on distilling the character of the Scottish landscape. I have exhibited with her in several exhibitions in Scotland in the past. Claudia has had great success for her strong, bold and dark rural landscapes taken from eye-level view. However, in her most recent show she has drawn on geological maps to depict a fascinating and novel view of the landscape. She uses fossils found in the areas to give further depth to her investigation. The results are beautiful and fascinating pieces that invite the viewer to consider the earth beyond the noise of human existence. Her work can be viewed on her blog here.

Claudia Massie (2010), Untitled, monotype/screenprint

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Paths to Abstraction

I have reviewed the present Paths to Abstraction exhibition on at the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. The exhibition brings together over 150 pieces from Impressionism, Nabis, Fauvism, Cubism and Dada, to name a few. The basic premise of the exhibition challenges the idea of a hegemonic narrative and suggests is that there was no single movement to abstraction in European art but rather the paths to abstraction in were varied and unpredictable. The article can be read here in the New Linear Perspectives the literary arts and culture journal. 

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Watson Bay Boat Sketch

Watson Bay Boat Sketch
Watercolour, Ink and Chinese Paint on Arches 300gsm
33cm x 24cm

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Suburbia

Today I had time to get to the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney city. As I neither work or live in the city I do not go there often, so when I do visit I become acutely aware of how different the urban environment is there to the more expansive suburban Sydney. The density is significantly higher with more people, taller buildings and subsequently less sunlight. Perhaps due to its unfamiliarity I felt no desire to connect with this landscape and try to paint it. However my suburban ease was appeased in the Gallery of NSW in a large painting by Howard Arkley entitled 'Superb + solid' (1998) painted in synthetic polymenr on canvas . This is unusual as it engages with the suburbian landscape which is often disregarded in Australian landscape painting for the city or the bush. The house seems to be a more modernised take on a federation home perhaps built in the 1950s. The artist has distilled the image so that the suburban home almost takes on an iconic feel of a glossy real-estate photo. The idea of Suburbia has many connotations between a positive and comforting place to an isolating and unprogressive environment. It seems for an urban environment that is so significant  and dominant in Australia there should be more artists examining the subject-matter.

Howard Arkley, 'Superb + solid' (1998)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee Architectural Details


The Eastern Suburbs have a great variety of architecture that characterise the landscape. The physicality of the buildings gives an indication of the values and aesthetics of the time that they were built. Though ideas and trends move on these buildings stay static as a stationary reminder of what was. As an artist inspired by the built environment of Sydney I find it interesting to consider these various influences that shaped the landscape we see today. I am drawn to the wide diversity of architecture in the Eastern Suburbs and its ability to seem somewhat cohesive, such that the many influences come together in a way that has a distinct character.

For this blog entry I have taken a series of photographs of architectural details of buildings in Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. These photos are by no means conclusive but provide a small taster of the finer texture to the landscape. Much of the development of architecture in Sydney was moulded by imported European or American styles which were modfied by the climate and the materials available to build. Some of these styles are shown below.
























Thursday, 19 August 2010

From a Coogee Roundabout

From a Coogee Roundabout
Watercolour, Ink, Chinese Ink and Paint on Arches Paper
75cm x 56cm

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Coogee Rooftops

Coogee Rooftops
Watercolour, Chinese Ink and Paint on Bockingford Paper
75cm x 55cm

I do not know if this piece is finished, it might need something to pull it all together. It is larger than I have been working on on previous pieces. I want to find the right balance between abstraction and representation to give a greater sense of the place.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Randwick Inkscape

Randwick Inkscape
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
50cm x 28cm

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Sculptures of Urbanity

Malabar Road Sketch
Chinese Ink and Paints on Rice Paper
52cm x 42cm

I had lots of interruptions today doing this painting so the finished piece is not what I set out to do. The scene depicted is a junction on a main road in Maroubra with traffic lights, road signs and electricity wires. It is these functional sculptures of urbanity that I want to capture.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Made in China

California Bungalows on Rice Paper
Chinese Ink and Paint on Rice Paper
42cm x 34cm

 Coogee California Bungalows
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
40cm x 29cm

Continuing with the Shui-mo-hau influence, I want to juxapose these Chinese art materials with a distinctly Sydney built environment.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Clovelly Cliff

Clovelly Cliff
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
29cm x 40cm

Monday, 2 August 2010

Shui-mo-hua

Clovelly Rock
Chinese Ink and Paints on Rice Paper Scroll
42cm x 59cm

 Clovelly Swell Sketch
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
40cm x 29cm

Inspired by a recent trip to Hong Kong, a place I grew up I have decided to draw on some Chinese painting influence for these pieces. With my recent use of ink and watercolour it feels like a natural progression to look at Chinese landscape painting. This genre of painting has a deep history in using ink and washes which is more specifically known as Shui-mo-hua. The idea of this form of painting is not to reproduce the subject but to capture its essence. So to paint waves, rather than portraying a static image, the goal is to express its power or movement and to reduce the useless detail.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards


I am visiting Hong Kong and have written an article on the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009 for the online magazine New Linear Perspectives. The Biennial is exhibited between May and August 2010 in the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Read the article here

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Brook Street Bungalows

Brook Street Houses
Acrylic, Ink, Graphite and Oil Pastel on Paper
64cm x 54cm

Any painting lies somewhere between complete abstraction and complete representation. This painting is another attempt at abstracting the landscape more so that it is clear what is represented but that the painting takes on a character of its own. Like any landscape Brook Street is layer upon layer of pattern that comes together in a way that is distinctive for the area. The low lying red california bungalow roofs, the electricity wires and the foliage are features that are intrinsic to the character of Coogee.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Clovelly Road Dribbles

Clovelly Road Dribbles
Watercolour, Ink, Acrylic and Oil Pastel
64cm x 51cm

I do not know what I think of this painting yet. I completely lost control of it then it came together again... I think.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Tamarama Beach Playing

Tamarama Beach Playing
Watercolour, Ink and Acrylic
64cm x 51cm

This is a playful painting of Tamarama Beach viewed from the coastal walk. The painting was produced with quick movements which caused some of the paint to splatter on the paper. Tamarama is a narrow beach between two protruding sandstone headlands. Swimming here is extremely hazardous due to the fast flowing rips.